feuervogel: (heart's desire)
I took the GRE a week ago and finally submitted my grad school application. I don't have official scores yet, but the computer told me when I was finished that I had 163 verbal and 155 math, on a scale of 130-170. (They rescaled it to make 50th percentile for math, around 152, actually in the middle, as opposed to 680, where it used to be. I am still rubbish at GRE math, but give me actual algebra problems to solve, and I am fine.) They can't give you a preliminary score on the essay part, obviously.

I have officially applied to grad school! This is terrifying. I haven't submitted my writing sample yet; I'm still working on making it not terrible. I want to get in, but I'm nervous about what will happen if I do, and scared I won't. And I won't know until probably April -_-

One of the professors I talked to while I was visiting last month said a PhD is worthwhile, because then you can teach at a university (adjuncting, not just full-prof). But I don't think I want to do that; I mean, it's a lot of work for crap pay. So I have no idea what I'd do with a PhD that I can't do with an MA.

So I've been researching what you can do with a Linguistics PhD (though German studies is also a possibility; I think I want to focus on sociolinguistics/dialects/ethnolects/language contact for my MA thesis, so ling is more appropriate probably.) And it's like, well, you can be a professor, or work for the government, or if you do computational linguistics you can work for machine translation places, or you could coordinate language education programs. (This is the most useful thing I've found thus far, and it's not that helpful.)

So anyway, friends, do any of you have experience with this sort of thing? I don't want to put myself through the torture of a PhD program if I'm not going to use the degree and if I don't need to. (I'm looking into programs both here and in Germany. Not very seriously at the moment, bookmarked for later.) I haven't completely ruled out the idea--if during my MA studies, I read a paper that's really cool and I get inspired for a PhD thesis, yay; if not, I'll have an MA and be able to teach community college here & elsewhere. I'm like 99% sure I don't want to do a PhD because of the effort etc.

Let's see... I took my car in for an alignment today because they told me my back tires were wearing unevenly, and they need to replace the control arms ($500) and at least the rear tires ($250), preferably all (another $250). I said just to do the rear tires, because this is all really expensive. Hopefully they'll have it done today so I can get my car back before I have to go to class tomorrow.

Speaking of class, Russian is going well. It's not too hard yet, but I'm waiting for the shoe to drop in second-year. First-year is all basics, like all 6 cases, verbal aspect, and verb conjugations; I don't even know what's in second semester yet.

Um, I'll be having a fandom yard sale sometime eventually, once I have time to catalog (photograph) my stuff. Which could be a while.

Date: 2015-11-10 11:48 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] blimix.livejournal.com
A PhD is worthwhile because then you can teach as an adjunct? By that logic, going to prison in China is worthwhile, because then you can be enslaved, tortured, and maybe chopped up for body parts to be sold.

Date: 2015-11-12 07:34 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] beth_leonard
beth_leonard: (Default)
*nod* Unless someone else is paying you to learn at this level, it does not seem worth it to go to school for a career path like that.

If you want to go to Germany to teach the refugees German and how to survive as an immigrant in Germany, and you also pick up other languages (i.e. theirs) fairly quickly, then that sounds like a cool career path and I'd look at specifically what credentials are needed to do that kind of teaching.

I don't have hard facts, but if you don't want to be a tenure-track professor, then my impression is that an advanced degree in "being someone's serf and jumping through their hoops" is a waste of your precious years of being young and able-bodied. Possibly also a waste of your money if you have to pay for it too. The exceptions are computer science, robotics, engineering, and possibly some of the hard sciences like chemistry and biology.

--Beth

Date: 2015-11-11 04:25 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] steuard.livejournal.com
Good lord. If you wind up going to this program, do not under any circumstances listen to career advice from anyone who claims that "adjunct" is a good option to consider. Under certain limited circumstances, it can make sense, but it's 100% unreasonable as a long-term career path. The pay varies from so-so to insulting, the workload is high (and most of it follows you home), the job security is close to zero (especially in German, to be honest: a whole lot of schools have already cut their German programs, and many of those that haven't are probably thinking about it), and the respect from your colleagues ranges from "almost one of us, almost" to "interchangeable warm body".

There may be other, worthwhile jobs where a Ph.D. in German would open doors for you. I can't speak to that, honestly: I've heard mixed assessments of whether science Ph.D.s are worth it (if you're not aiming for a tenure-track job, which it sounds like you're not), but I haven't heard a lot about what language Ph.D.s can do for you. (But... you'd need to pay for the opportunity, right? That makes it less remunerative than a science Ph.D. from the start.)

Date: 2015-11-11 07:37 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] anacoluthon.livejournal.com
Sadly most friends I have who have been in PhD programs at one point have quit for various reasons but I know a few who stuck with it or are still sticking. I know I'd be miserable but it works for some people, and I have no real knowledge of how reasonable any grad-school-type options are. So I'll make supportive hand-wavy motions at you vs. actually providing valuable input.

Go you for doing well in Russian class! I am just so intimidated by languages and I am always impressed when folks can handle them (or are just brave enough to try I suppose).

Date: 2015-11-11 02:18 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] angelamori.livejournal.com
I don't know if this would help, but would you be earning a stipend as you work towards a PhD? My friends have found that that has made the difference.

Although, as you had observed, you could always opt to switch to the PhD programme if you find the MA interesting enough... just make sure that you can transfer your credits to make life easier?

Date: 2015-11-11 08:13 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] trenchkamen.livejournal.com
I'm afraid I can't say much about a linguistics Ph.D., specifically, but I will agree that adjuncthood is something akin to serfdom. Hell, if you can swing it, go to Germany.

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